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A better method of gathering information on criminals

So basically I have noticed three reasons why unethical people get away with doing crimes and breaking laws. Laws are not perfect, but, victimless crimes aside, there should be a method of gathering enough information about generally all activity so that when a victim of a crime comes forward, enough information is available for something to be done about it and proper justice be issued in an ethical manner. Here is my proposal. I believe that an invasion of privacy should be necessary. I believe that information should be recorded generally anywhere and stored, never to be looked at when it isn't necessary to do so. When a crime happens, the judge can then pull from this archive of information and use that information in a court case despite the invasion of privacy and can get the most valid look at if a crime really happened or not. This would stop people from getting away with whatever they wanted all the time simply due to a lack of information and the ignorance of the community that holds this idea back. What arguments do you have for why this would or wouldn't be a good idea?

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    Jul 13 2012: I'm curious as to when Lance Shive will respond to some of these comments?

    I am interested to read some feedback from the conversation starter, please and thanks. =)
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    Jul 8 2012: The complete invasion of privacy of the person not only completely demoralizes a country, it also can create a series of headaches. Unless the information included that the person committed the crime, the manipulation of information would occur. Just think if you have say 10 or 12 people you think committed a crime and you have all of the information on them, there are probably at least two or three that could have done the crime based on the way the investigators are looking at the information, but are completely innocent. It seems like this process would backfire and create more wrong conventions.

    Thanks for the interesting idea!
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    Aug 2 2012: I think the difference between a suspect and a criminal should be kept in mind.
    If an organisation has access to this kind of information as you have proposed, there will be possibilities of abuse of power.
    I think the democratic system, despite its failings, is still better as far as the dispensation of justice is concerned.

    Your proposed system, with its rosy picture of perfection, would soon reveal its hideous side.
    No human system can be perfect.
  • Jul 8 2012: No thank you.
    Constant surveillance is a dystopian notion which presupposes guilt. The base assumption is that everyone will commit a crime at some time in their lives. I would reject this proposal in its entirety because it is an unjustifiable nonsense devoid of merit.

    Many people try to live decent lives and unsurprisingly, they manage to do this despite our so-called betters and elders setting us a myriad examples of wrong-doing and its acceptability to the establishment and the rich and powerful. Much of the penal code in developed societies concerns itself with property and ownership... concepts that only the wealthy have any interest in supporting.

    In my experience, people who have nothing don't tend to steal from each other so they do not need to be surveilled. I might think a lot more of your idea if it was a proposal to constantly supervise bankers, parliamentarians and media owners.

    Blaming the victims for their behaviour is one strategy for diverting attention from the root causes of poverty. If you have no job because you lost it in the last economic downturn (caused by the wealthy) and your only option is to steal to feed your family, I think there is a morally justifiable case for you doing so.

    People are not born criminals and children do not exhibit criminal tendencies. Their formative learning establishes many things and the environment they grow in is what determines everything from their moral code and their success in education. All of these factors play a part in how they develop and what sort of adults they become.

    The endemic greed among our leaders and the philosophy that worships money above all else is responsible for high crime rates. Of the 45 MPs in the UK who stole public money... only five were brought to trial. One who had stolen at least £100,000 of public funds by lying and cheating became unwell when a trial was in the offing - discuss.
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    Jul 4 2012: Smacks of "Big Brother" or maybe KBG. There are already government, corpoprate, and almost every sales organization that reports what you buy, where you stay, what you eat, and sells your info to all hucksters. Even the most secure of sites can be hacked. Even the best of intentions can be abused.

    All the best. Bob.
  • Jul 3 2012: Crime will be abolished either when the entire population of the world will be required to wear headbands that inhibit criminal behaviour; or humanity leaps inside a virtual realm generated by the computer, where there is no need of harming others.

    Until the desire and the need are abrogated, there will always be crime.
    Surveillance cannot prevent terrorist networks from formulating the ideas for mass murder.
    No matter how many cameras, or police officers you put on the streets, there will always be someone who will slip easily by unnoticed.

    Rather than create a citadel of secret agents, trip wires and security cameras, maybe we should focus more on the reason why crime is considered in the first place?

    Greed, poverty, poor education, mental illness, homelessness, religion.
    Fix some of these problems, and there may be less of a need for an Orwellian view of the future.
  • Jul 3 2012: "I believe that information should be recorded generally anywhere and stored, never to be looked at when it isn't necessary to do so."

    Not realistic. Of course people will look, in particular the government security types.

    I have posted this idea in another conversation, and will repeat the idea here.

    IMO, this is going to happen. With drones overhead and tiny inexpensive cameras planted almost everywhere, computer technology will soon be keeping track of everyone's physical location. In some cities, there are already enough security cameras around to do this. Maybe I am being too cynical, but I think the government security types will have a computer model that tracks everyone at all times, they might have it now. This is an outrageous invasion of our privacy, and people who are concerned about the loss of our liberties will surely fight this. I hope they don't fight too hard, because then the government would just do it secretly. Much better that we keep this in the open, allow this information to be used in court, and we can reduce crime to very near zero, especially violent crime. In the USA a baby girl born today has a one in four chance of being raped during her life. That is not acceptable. When every rapist gets caught and punished, every time, potential rapists will start seeking therapy before they get violent. Why have crime when the privacy we treasure is only an illusion?
  • Jul 3 2012: Ideally, this could work well, but in reality corruption would be much too great. It is one of those arguments of "who watches the watchers, and who watches those watchers, etc."

    Also, if you consider the amount of laws on the books in most countries, they easily reach into the hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions. With the sheer number of laws, there is nearly always some law someone is currently breaking. The right to privacy in America, specifically, prevents nearly the entire population from being imprisoned.

    Now, if the laws were reduced to a manageable, and rational, level, this may be more approachable, but the risk of abuse is still far too great. Consider the recent terrorism laws, it is highly probable everyone in the US has performed some act which is listed under the terrorist prevention laws. Should every person be hauled in? Who decides who gets prosecuted and who doesn't?

    In short, having evidence does not remove the issue inherent in having laws and punishment, subjectivity. It also does nothing to prevent the root causes of the crimes. I think the US having the highest percentage of its population in prison shows just how little federal 'time outs' prevent future crime.
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    Jul 3 2012: Are you serious?
  • Jul 3 2012: Go to hell.
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      Jul 3 2012: A bit harsh, don't you think Random? I do understand that this idea is a bit.....well, dictatorish....but maybe they don't know any better?
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      Jul 4 2012: Random, Not the TED way. Innaproperiate.
      • Jul 4 2012: I apologize.
        To Mr. Shive, please accept my apology.

        There is a reason why I reacted that way, but no excuse, so I won't post my reason so that it won't be taken as an excuse.

        I am sorry and apologize to the poster and all other Ted comers who might have been or were affected.

        I wanted to say that you don't solve a problem by taking away everyone else's rights. You get rid of the causes or reasons for committing crimes and this is entirely possible.

        IMLTHO (in my less than humble opinion), one cannot observe, study, quantify or conclude that people have criminal minds until such study is done in a society in which there are no reasons to be criminal. It is not human nature. It is not human nature. It is not human nature.

        Thus it is fixable, curable, changeable and doable. Saying it is human nature is bull.

        Plus, this suggestion wouldn't work because all those currently in power, would object, resist and simply refuse, to be so transparent, honest, open and forthcoming. But they would want you to be! Sorry. Let's get rid of the reasons for crime. If you (whomever it might be), are not willing to do that, then you (whomever it might be), are either a Fascist or simply unwilling at all to solve serious problems.
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          Jul 4 2012: Random, Accepted. Thanks for the response. Bob.